Every year it was a big family tradition for my father to go out a week before Christmas and bring home the family Christmas tree. Off he went, with axe in hand, to bring home our beautiful fresh tree. Now, back in the day, you could just go anywhere where the land wasn't "owned" and chop down a tree. Then you brought her home, trimmed her up, and spent six or seven hours fitting her in the stand. (Could of been a him, I don't know..) But as the years went by, it seemed that all land was owned by neighbors or somebody looking for a mountain getaway. So, Daddy had to sneak off and get a tree. One time he brought home what we called the Charlie Brown tree. It was a scraggly little rascal, and my mother and me took one look at it, and starting giggling. Which of course made Daddy fly hot. We spent an hour convincing him that it was a wonderful tree, and no we didn't want him to throw it over the hill, or chop it up, or run out and chop down another one to satisfy "the ungrateful, and mean-spirited women." In the end, Daddy drilled some holes in the tree and stuffed some other branches in it, and once decorated, it became a beautiful little tree.
Years passed, and I had my own family. I heard from my brother about the latest tree adventure. My parents were older now, and my brother, having retired from the navy, had moved back home. This is going to sound cruel, but my brother and father, on their way to get a tree, loaded up some stray cats, and took them with them, so as to find a suitable place to "drop" them. Meaning they took the cats to turn them loose and let them find another home. They drove until they came to a what appeared to be an uninhabited stretch of woods, and not seeing any houses, they turned the cats loose. Much to their surprise, they all took off and ran under some old house they had not seen. As they were getting in the truck, a man burst through the front door, in a t-shirt and his underwear, and said, "Hey, why don't you come back and get your Goddamn cats!!" Of course they jumped in the truck and drove off, quickly, with their heads ducked down. Down the road aways they had to pull over to side, they were laughing so hard. My father, according to my brother, laughed so hard he almost swallowed his chewing tobacco.
They finally found a likely spot to look for a tree. Now, remember, they are breaking the law. Even if the land was owned by the state or some god awful power company, you weren't supposed to steal trees. However, they proceded into the wooded area, cautiously looking around, expecting a game warden to jump out and give them ticket or something. They found a tree, and looking around one more time, started to chop it down. Then my brother heard chopping when he wasn't chopping. He walked around, using brush and trees for cover, and saw several other lawbreakers chopping for all they were worth. So, there were other lawbreakers in the area. They got their tree and loaded up in the back of the truck.
A few days later, the cats started showing up. Just like a Disney movie they were finding their way home, and why not? Daddy always fed the cats, made sure they had a nice place out of the weather to sleep, and even if they all had the same name, (Cat), why should the cats fend for themselves, when an old man will do it for you? Daddy always said it was punishment for breaking the law, or either they man in the underwear tracked them down, and was just returning the "Goddamn" cats. It was shortly thereafter that Daddy took the plunge and bought an artificial tree.
My dear Mother's comment, "Well, at least we don't have to water it..."